Welcome to the wild wild west. There were some hay makers thrown, Mitt Romney mocking Rick Perry's past debate performances, Perry countering with allegations of Romney hiring illegal immigrants, as well as Ron Paul repudiating the field on state's rights & Occupy Wall Street. Jon Stewart will have a blast with this one. Herman Cain was either defending his 999 tax plan or turning the conversation to food. Pizza, fruits and breads, the man is a veritable kitchen of "alternative energy" possibilities.
Who received the talking time? Romney, as usual, however, with Jon Huntsman sitting this debate out there was more time to go around and it would seem it benefited the rest of the usually-ignored candidates. Mitt spoke 15:11, or nearly 21% of the total talk-time, Rick Perry got in 11:01, but Ron Paul finally got into double figures with 10:05. While this is a bump up from his previous high of 9:19 (MSNBC/Politico Debate), the real shock was that a day after putting out the most ambitious budget plan of any candidate, to cut one Trillion dollars in his first year of office, there was hardly any mention of it by Anderson Cooper except in passing to ask about cutting military spending. Instead, there was a lot of bickering about Herman Cain's 999 tax plan, which he did nothing to defend other than distract the issue.
While Romney and Perry once again dominated the majority of the Republican candidates' speaking time, their feud did nothing to help their image and may end up as time poorly spent. When a new topic finally popped up, Yucca Mountain, you could hear a pregnant pause as everyone held their breath waiting to see what Ron Paul had to say. A telling moment that shows the field is not confident in their philosophy, as they don't have one unless "just get elected" qualifies.
Tracking time was the most difficult yet with all the temper tantrums on display, so the time is tracked at some points twice, adding a few seconds to the total time as it was double counted in places. Also, these brief roughshod exchanges are counted in one turn talking rather than broken up into 5 turns each, as they only comprise milliseconds here and there. Here are the statistics on how much each candidate spoke and engaged during the debate:
|Total Talk||% of Talk Time|
|Avg b/w Talks||Longest Wait|
Quote of the night: "If you want better competition, better health care, you should allow the American people to opt out of government medicine...we need more competition in medicine...as soon as you go to the government, the lobbyists line up, the drug companies line up, the insurance companies line up.." - Ron Paul